Restore what is true and identify what is false

George Williams, the veteran antique dealer specializing in Georgian furniture for 40 years, is diversifying with a new concept in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

The Meath-based merchant, who has worked with important collections such as the Episcopal Palace in Waterford, has successfully run restoration courses in the past and will now offer online appreciation courses, in addition to restoration and upholstery, also in online format.

“The first lockdown made us think a little differently about what we were doing and so we started this new business,” says Williams, who runs the eponymous company with his wife Maggy, an art consultant.

“Often condition reports are vague and those new to the antiques world can be vulnerable. For example, I was recently doing an appraisal in Navan and the client told me he had a “beautiful Georgian library”, for which he had paid around € 8,000. It was not Georgian at all and I had to tell them it was only worth around € 800. You also get parts that have been altered from their origin and only a trained eye can tell if they are off, ”says Williams.

George williams

Although a little noble, the George Williams Antiques Institute of Learning will begin its online courses in January 2022, with the Antique Chair. Costing € 295, the course – which will take place over six evening classes with one two-hour session per week – will cover styles from the 17th to the 19th century, including how to spot the difference between reproductions and reality. He will also learn to spot a good deal while navigating the auction world, which he says can be “dumping grounds for things that aren’t quite right.”

“A photograph, no matter how good, is not always representative of what is on sale,” Williams warns. The course also allows students to send images or videos to the chair of their choice and obtain recommendations on conservation, valuation and, if necessary, restoration.

Of interest, and available on the website, are a line of natural waxes and products manufactured by Williams, “which are safe and can be used on all wood products, including cutting boards.” Involved in catering for the past four decades, Williams, who has also lectured on the subject for the Irish Georgian Society, says he has tried and tested many ancient ingredients that make up his products.

“Turpentine has been used as a solvent in beeswax, but it’s also a great deterrent for woodworms and even mice.”

The Complete Revival Kit, which costs 65 €, is suitable for antiques and all household wood. It includes furniture cleaning solution, natural wax and original antique furniture wax. The Carry On Reviving Kit comes with a branded carry box which was handcrafted by Williams just like all contents and costs € 85 including VAT and shipping within Ireland.

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